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Old 04.01.2019, 00:08
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associations for foreigners in Zürich

We are a family of 5, both working (part-time) and live in Zürich city with three little kids (oldest is 4.5 years). Family matters do therefore take a lot of our time, but we decided it would be good to get more involved in the social life to have something else than work + kids.

We lived in a couple of countries (Brazil, Chile, Netherlands, Germany, and Mozambique) and are quite fluent in Portuguese, Dutch, German, Spanish, and some French. We both have academic education (engineering and health care) and experience in development and social work (but no formal training for social work).

I think it would be great to be involved in a “foreigner association” that supports newcomers. I am definitely NOT talking about happy hours with expats or singles meeting. So not the expats that stay 2 years and move on, also not fugitives as their problems are way beyond our capacities and there will probably be a language barrier, but people with a long-term commitment to an enjoyable life in Zürich (or surroundings).

The work would be voluntarily and we would like to split the task between my wife and myself. I say that because we want to share more things than care for our kids and some hobbies, and split because we always need one parent at home while the other is away.

I found some associations and some other ideas, and of course also curious about your questions and ideas!

Best regards, Erik
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Old 04.01.2019, 00:26
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Re: associations for foreigners in Zürich

That's a great idea, Erik. I suppose this forum was initially a place for making contacts as a newcomer but it gradually lost its purpose and kindness.

I wish you all the best with your future endeavours, there are people out there who really deserve a warm welcome and all your survival-in-a-new-country skills. May your project be a successful one - that means you should start such a "new" association...and if you're committed other folks will join you.
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Old 04.01.2019, 09:48
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Re: associations for foreigners in Zürich

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...I am definitely NOT talking about happy hours with expats or singles meeting. So not the expats that stay 2 years and move on, also not fugitives as their problems are way beyond our capacities and there will probably be a language barrier, but people with a long-term commitment to an enjoyable life in Zürich (or surroundings).
It's your club, so set it up how you like. I've been part of the EF Bern Dinner Club for many years. It is "only" an informal meet up for dinner once a month, but something similar might be an easy way to start for you. Or if you prefer something more formal and structured, you can start a Verein.

I don't want to squash your idea. I think it's great. At the same time, you asked for experiences so I'll expand my answer a bit.

It doesn't disturb me if our dinner club attendees only come once and for some reason don't return. Sure, it would be nice to have more regulars, but people have their own lives. We've had expats that were here for two (or four or six) years and left. We also have a core of members that have attended for many years and whom I consider friends. Are we all staying here for eternity? Who knows, but Switzerland is our home for now and we're going to enjoy each other's company.

When Mr Wishes and I first moved to Switzerland, we weren't expats (Mr Wishes is Swiss) but we didn't know how long we'd stay. The same is true for some of our other members. If someone had told me we weren't welcome at the dinners because we didn't know how long we'd be here - okay, I guess whatever floats your boat. I don't even know where you're going with the "fugitives" comment or the language barrier one, given that you speak 6 languages.

In any case, I agree that having friendships and regular meet ups is a good thing and I applaud you for stepping forward to get the ball rolling.
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Old 04.01.2019, 10:05
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Re: associations for foreigners in Zürich

Have a look at centrepoint.ch - this is a Basel based group providing all kinds of events and activities for English speakers. Not seen similar in Zurich.

Also have a look at xpatxchange.ch - search under Clubs - there are quite a few expat community clubs listed. Just for an idea of what is out there already. I notice many of the entries are quite old so maybe some of the clubs no longer operate thus providing a gap in the market.

Good luck.

Cheers,
Nick
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Old 04.01.2019, 11:00
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Re: associations for foreigners in Zürich

Thanks for the replies!

I see some things are maybe not clear from my initial post I do not want to start something new, but would rather join an existing association. Entrepreneurship and leading are not my strengths, I am mostly a "give me a task and I will do it" type. So rather, join a club than founding one.

Just to make clear: I have nothing against the expats . As I see it there is quite some activities for them already (like internations) but most important, they indeed have a better capability of finding their way in a new group/society, solving bureaucratic matters, etc. I say that based on my own endeavors and experiences, such as a relatively successful mingling into life here in Zürich. I based my comments on the fugitives mostly on basis of the current migration streams from Eastern Europe, Syria, Africa. I do not think their first language matches any of mine, but I should indeed do some more research into it.

As a practical example: our housekeeper is from Portugal. She is here quite some time, has a C-Permit, but from what I hear she is mostly surviving instead of enjoying life. I am sure there is some latent wish and possibilities for her to improve her life here.

Thanks for the links; I will have a look into them!

Best regards,
Erik
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Old 04.01.2019, 11:43
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Re: associations for foreigners in Zürich

FYI, I think you mean refugee, not fugitive. Two very different things.

As for helping other newcomers to Zürich, check out this from the city's Office of Integration:

https://www.stadt-zuerich.ch/prd/de/...and_links.html

Especially the link, 'Volunteer opportunities for English speakers' close to the bottom of the page.
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Old 04.01.2019, 12:27
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Re: associations for foreigners in Zürich

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FYI, I think you mean refugee, not fugitive. Two very different things.

As for helping other newcomers to Zürich, check out this from the city's Office of Integration:

https://www.stadt-zuerich.ch/prd/de/...and_links.html

Especially the link, 'Volunteer opportunities for English speakers' close to the bottom of the page.
You are very right - refugees is what I meant!

thanks for the link, will look into it!
best, Erik
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Old 04.01.2019, 13:02
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Re: associations for foreigners in Zürich

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As a practical example: our housekeeper is from Portugal. She is here quite some time, has a C-Permit, but from what I hear she is mostly surviving instead of enjoying life. I am sure there is some latent wish and possibilities for her to improve her life here.
I was with you on your original post about helping with integration. There are associations like this here in Vaud. So I've no doubt that in Zurich there is the same.

However, I'm just not sure what type of association you think will be able to help the person in your example?




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FYI, I think you mean refugee, not fugitive. Two very different things.
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Old 04.01.2019, 14:08
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Re: associations for foreigners in Zürich

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our housekeeper is from Portugal. She is here quite some time, has a C-Permit, but from what I hear she is mostly surviving instead of enjoying life. I am sure there is some latent wish and possibilities for her to improve her life here.
Start paying her more, and I'm sure she'll go from surviving to enjoying life
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Old 04.01.2019, 17:19
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Re: associations for foreigners in Zürich

In principle its a nice idea.

My personal story, which I think is similar to many of the expats. I came over for a short term contract, which rolled. I never intended to stay. This being the case I would fall into the "2 year and move on category".

At that time!

Now I came here in 2005 and as things worked out I stayed, so dont need so much help.

My point is, perhaps your plan, should include those who will stay for 2 years and move on, and see if they stay longer.

My experience is people arriving here do need social help, meeting people and making friends, along with events and activities that are taking place folks may not be aware of, accommodation searches, all the Swiss bureaucracy and legal side of things
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Old 05.01.2019, 01:56
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Re: associations for foreigners in Zürich

you have a housekeeper, that alone puts you in a situation different than many of us who have been here for years, eeking out a “life” from what is meant to be a decent salary, just saying.
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Old 05.01.2019, 11:55
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Re: associations for foreigners in Zürich

"As a practical example: our housekeeper is from Portugal. She is here quite some time, has a C-Permit, but from what I hear she is mostly surviving instead of enjoying life. I am sure there is some latent wish and possibilities for her to improve her life here."


==> pay her a better salaray then she will have the means to improve her life



"with a long-term commitment to an enjoyable life in Zürich"


==> this depends mainly on your financial situation and your job. If you have a job that pays well, is fulfilling and meaningful and allows for a good work life balance then you will have an enjoyable life in Zürich.



The needs and wishes of expats differ in a great way, some just want a better paying job so that they don't always need to buy M-Budget while others would like to have the same shopping possibilites for exclusive fashion articles as they had in New York.
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Old 05.01.2019, 12:27
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Re: associations for foreigners in Zürich

So...

1. you'd like to help people moving to Switzerland by giving advice, ideas and sharing experiences

2. you don't want to start something new but preferably join an organisation that already exists

3. you'd like to do personal meet ups

Honestly, this is why English Forum was formed. Lots of posters here volunteer their time to give advice and even personally help a person in need. It can be quite inspiring to hear some of the stories that have aspired through this forum.

Town councils offer newcomers advice and often have annual dinners for newcomers to feel welcomed and meet them in person. You might want to contact them if you'd like to volunteer some time there.

Otherwise, I'd simply post a meet up on this forum, have it at Grumpygrapefruit's Cheese Bar (The British Cheese Centre:
https://www.im-viadukt.ch/en/marktha...cheese-centre/) in Zürich and watch what happens.
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Old 05.01.2019, 12:34
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Re: associations for foreigners in Zürich

In Zürich these days the association that you are seeking is called Kindergarten and Primarschule.
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Old 05.01.2019, 15:01
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Re: associations for foreigners in Zürich

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So...

1. you'd like to help people moving to Switzerland by giving advice, ideas and sharing experiences

2. you don't want to start something new but preferably join an organisation that already exists

3. you'd like to do personal meet ups

Honestly, this is why English Forum was formed. Lots of posters here volunteer their time to give advice and even personally help a person in need. It can be quite inspiring to hear some of the stories that have aspired through this forum.

Town councils offer newcomers advice and often have annual dinners for newcomers to feel welcomed and meet them in person. You might want to contact them if you'd like to volunteer some time there.

Otherwise, I'd simply post a meet up on this forum, have it at Grumpygrapefruit's Cheese Bar (The British Cheese Centre:
https://www.im-viadukt.ch/en/marktha...cheese-centre/) in Zürich and watch what happens.
Exactly. When I first came here 12 years ago I new no one apart from my Swiss wife's family and friends. But soon found EF and within a few weeks I felt like I belonged to something. After a couple more months I had made a dozen or so friends in real life from here (and still friends with them today). Today I could count well over 100 friends who I met on this forum. I also learnt almost everything I need to know about this country from EF (even my Swiss wife learnt stuff she never knew about her own country!)

These days, EF has become much less sociable, maybe because almost any question you might have about life here has been answered and newbies don't need to join or join in the discussions. Also, Facebook has taken over most socialising functions and although I still get plenty of "internationals" coming here for drinks and socialising, they mostly find out about it on FB. I stopped posting social events on FB some time ago as no one ever responded (which is a pity)
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Old 05.01.2019, 18:44
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Re: associations for foreigners in Zürich

And you want to help 'new comers' but not anyone who will stay less than 2 years. But you also want the help your cleaning lady 'new comer' who has lived here 'quite some time' i.e. More than 5 years since she has a C permit.

Maybe you need to describe what this association does exactly so we can help you find the right one to join.
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Old 07.01.2019, 14:04
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Re: associations for foreigners in Zürich

Many thanks for all replies!

We came to CH 5 years ago and since I learned a lot from this forum, and tried to contribute something back – but as “Grumpygrapefruit” mentioned, many answers are already there and if one is interested in an answer, he will find it. So, indeed, EF helps a lot and therefore I thought I could get some experience from you
Thinking about our housekeeper. She speaks Portuguese and after more than 10 years here, she still only speaks Portuguese: 1) segregation is not good, and 2) she would not be able to use this English forum. She works 3 hours a week and we pay her more than I used to make in my day jobs when we just arrived in Zürich – and that is what we can afford .

Integration is, I think, also a choice – and our housekeeper did not integrate well. I do not want to force anyone to integrate, but would like to help in cases one wants. I keep coming back to expats that stay here for 2 years. If they want help, I would help them as well. I just wanted to say that I am not looking for an association that promotes happy hours between expats. I know meetup, used it a lot until the kids arrived and would still use it if we had more free time!

Indeed, we do not have a lot of free time so we have to use if efficiently. I will give another example to hopefully make things clearer: my wife does postnatal care. In this job, one gets quite personal with people you have not seen before. Most of these families live in our neighborhood, so one sees them every now and then: to some you say, “How are you? Bye” to the other “let’s go for a (spontaneous) coffee”, and there is even some that became real friends. Therefore, one meets in a work environment, do the job, and from there something can develop, or not. Something similar could work in assisting newcomers: they have a specific need; one helps, and let us see what comes next.

The link by meloncollie brings some good addresses, thanks!
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